By Ron Jackson
One of South Africa’s longest-serving ring officials Neville Hotz died of the Covid 19 virus yesterday. He was 69.
Neville who was born on 27 August 1951 operated a well-known panel beating business in the Johannesburg area for many years before he retired about ten years ago, and then had more time to follow his passion of boxing.
He was first introduced to boxing as a fan by Jerry Atherton who was a ringmaster and travelled with him too many tournaments.
His love of the fight game led to Neville writing the officials examination at the South African Boxing Boards offices which he passed with flying colours.
According to available records his first fight as an official was on 28 November 1999 at the Portuguese Hall in Turfontein, Johannesburg when Johnson Tshuma outpointed Patrick Cito over eight rounds.
Neville’s first championship fight as a judge was at Carnival City in Brakpan on 20 February 2002, when Andre Thysse beat Xolani Ngemtu on a split decision for the South African super middleweight title
His first world title fight as a judge was in October 2008 when William Gare beat Jindrich Velecky for the WBF super middleweight belt.
As an official he handed in scorecards involving several South African, International and world title fights, which included Mzonke Fana, Oscar Chauke, Corrie Sanders, Thabiso Mchunu, Patrick Malinga, Thomas Oosthuizen, Johnny Muller and many others.
However, the highlight of his career was when he was appointed as a judge for England’s Anthony Joshua’s second round knockout win over Charles Martin for the IBF heavyweight belt at the Arena Greenwich in London on 9 April 2016.
Other than Stan Christodoulou and Deon Dwarte who have been involved in a number of world title fights as referees and judges he joins a special group of South Africans with Alfred Buqwana and Thabo Spampool, who have officiated in world heavyweight title fights.
Neville was a dedicated official who acted in more than 200 fights and was prepared to travel anywhere for his love of boxing, and was a long-time member of the East Rand Veterans Boxing Association.